A Seattleite finds a new NBA team to call his own
By PATRICK LEARY
College Contributor Network
On July 2, 2008, I sat in my uncle's Vermont living room and watched as Sportscenter reported that my hometown NBA team, the Seattle SuperSonics, were moving to Oklahoma City.
More than six years later, my interest in the NBA has waned. Basketball has always been my favorite sport, but I've found the professional side of the game hard to follow ever since Ray Allen stopped shooting the lights out night in and night out at Key Arena.
This year, in an effort to relaunch my interest in the NBA, and to keep up with my NBA junkie little brother, I decided to adopt a new NBA team until the Sonics return to their rightful home. Joining me in my quest is one of my fraternity brothers, Nate, who also needed a new NBA team.
To start out, we had a few conditions we needed our new favorite team to meet. The initial stipulation I gave was that they could have no bad history with my Sonics. That eliminated the Thunder and the archrival Trailblazers right away, as well as the Kings for teasing Seattle with a move two years ago. We also agreed we didn't want to chose a team with a historically huge fan base, so the Celtics, Bulls, Knicks and Lakers came off the board.
The next step was a big eliminator, because Nate and I wanted to follow an up-and-coming team. That essentially meant we didn't want to pick a 2013-14 playoff team. There were a few intriguing choices, like the Warriors in the West and the Raptors and the Hornets in the East, but we decided that we wanted to be a part of the team's success from the moment that winning started.
That cut our list to 10. The next few eliminations were subjective; we didn't want to follow the Sixers because of their tankapalooza; the Bucks were the cliché local team; other guys in our fraternity were trying a similar thing with the Jazz. Jumping on the LeBron bandwagon scared us away from the Cavs. The Nuggets and Pistons didn't seem to be getting any better, and we knew too many people from Minnesota to pick the T-Wolves.
That left us with three viable options: the New Orleans Pelicans, the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic. All three teams had elements we liked. The Pelicans represent New Orleans, a city Nate and I have both done service trips to in the past, and they also boast a young superstar in Anthony Davis. The Suns play run-and-gun basketball, have incredible uniforms and have two sets of brothers on their roster, the Morris twins and Goran and Zoran Dragic. The Magic's roster is loaded with young talent with the potential to contend in a few years.
Those gobs of potential are what led us to settle on the Magic after a week of deliberation. Orlando's roster has a unique balance of promising young talent and intriguing veterans. Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris could be stars in a few years. The two 2014 first-round draft picks, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, have a similar luster to them. Veterans Channing Frye, Ben Gordon and former Sonics point guard Luke Ridnour form a motley crew of old heads who have been around the block a few times.
Even the players further down the roster piqued our interest. Kyle O'Quinn was the star of the Norfolk State team that took out No. 2 seed Missouri in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Andrew Nicholson had a surprisingly strong rookie season and is looking to get back on track in year three. There was even a guy named Roy Devyn Marble. Get me a Marble jersey, pronto.
I'm not kidding myself by thinking the Magic will contend this season. Their roster is probably still a year or two away from the playoffs. But instead of sitting out another season in the hopes that the NBA will gift Seattle a team in the near future, I'm going to try to enjoy the next seven months of professional basketball. I would urge you to do the same. Go Magic.
Patrick Leary is a senior at Marquette University. He thinks Felix Hernandez is the best pitcher on God's green earth. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickkleary